hit and run
Trees living in their skin-smell, Appalachia has no need of my white poet
blouse and ripped jeans. The world as I knew it, gone, white as cotton balls
on angora, corners of sky closing like pages, dog-eared heron gray, no sound —
silence like lace after being ripped and I can no longer drink Café Bustelo
with my left arm. I lost the sparrow who followed me around. Now I know
the meaning of Venule. Someone said impact. Blunt trauma.
Cookout burgers. Circus freak butcher meat, no-arm. Old drug addict.
Young side-kick. Crack pipe beige and stolen tags. I saw motorcycle exhaust
linger over a sign: Watermelon Shakes Now! Then spit-white air and I swear
I was dead. Awake again, the air is shot, hoary corners closing in—bookmarked
pages—a girl holding my head, bikers standing in tangelo sun, my black and
white gym bag way across the street, gone to coppice and cigarettes.
The beige crunch ‘n munch car brown as bad teeth velocity-away and I’m, out.
This is the kind of trauma that hacks down a woman with an obtuse-angled arm.
One lady where I live asks me: How can I help? Other women’s eyes flecked
with the green that used to pile out of their dry un-lipsticked lips.
The hospital here threw me out in the middle of the night, fixed and clipped,
unconscious, conscious, not. The hospital here speckled with sadistic
garlands of greed. A guy with a chaotic front-yard of a meth-brain, waiting
for the bed. When I came to Appalachia, away from badrock South Bronx
and wild mouths, I saw country for what it really was — heart-blessed distress.
Trundle and lumber and shuffle the moral climate with marked predilection,
the shape of your thoughts, the lipstick of your mouth, a stink
of your agenda: Hotlines and landlines and landmines of change, helping
drug addicts running women over, hit, running rap sheet meth heads running
are now the fragile, the needy, the poor poor weak-kneed victims, the contour
of this upside-down cerebellum is calculated to a fine-tuned motor
skill that is the real climate change.
I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
And so it is, a crypt ache all through the darkening streets: Natalie Portman’s
little-seen angels move closer in Closer, leaving her with rallied strength
she was unaware of, yet it’s Così fan tutte — and so goes a woman.
Yet strength’s turpitude oxidizes your voice: but I love you —
a sinister tongue you ignore until you use your body to down despondency
to a single memory: the first blessing, to know your portion — the soul
animally aware of its own purpose. Some of us are not meant to fly
& this keeps us up at night. Memories rolling over & over like
cake batter rolled & beaten to death. Listen: the migraine of memory
can be shortened from London to New York City with its tacky neon
lights and lost seagulls glistening over art deco spires and starlit sensual streets.
And so it is, I remember being young and now, often, forgotten memories
batter me like a machete and I am winded and the summer mosquitoes gather
me to their sticky-noodle wings; they are distracting the memory I had forgotten.
They are eating my eyes near the liner, and still, my memory is true — I was beautiful, the kind of beautiful
that sends men in cars crashing into telephone poles. How
can a woman forget that? She forgets that when she remembers how her mother hated her, and stole the
portion from her that should have been bird. Here is my voice.
And so it is. We can’t take our eyes off of you. And me.
IlanHalimi – אילןחלימי
Blessed Memory-February 13, 2006
He was a rendition, angel, a King bird-of-paradise
beautiful beneath white wagtails and pigeons of Bagneux
beneath close-fisted moon
beneath lush rough-armed trees
beneath something sounding
like murky applause.
He was vulnerary, language, heritage,
he may have thought kinehora had blessed him,
for: “Just as the fishes in the sea are covered by water
and the evil eye has no power over them, so the evil
eye has no power over the seed of Joseph.”
but water, wine and saliva did not protect him.
Eyes so clear and blooming
he could have jumped from a Ferris wheel
he could have zinnias stuck to his tanned skin
he could have two magnetic fields
sunning the Ohm.
He is not an annotation, a footnote, an exegesis
He is the text
The marrow the sinew
Succor and salve, he is Y’Israel.
Captured by Armée Les Barberes
taped over deep into the bounded dark by:
Youssouf Fofana, gang leader
Audrey Lorleach, the bait-girl,
the enticer into the perils of charm.
Brutalized beautiful man lays
unconscious a unicorn.
Les Barberes’s vocation burned him to fried—
With the stench of kidnap and torture hissing in their noses,
they are stabbing, reveling in degrading the Jew,
with an undulating hum like gory insects, chanting suras—
no one heard the whirring, the din, the roar of evil
leaving remnants of skin only 20%
bruises plum eggplant. Ferris wheel
eyes, sunny eyes zipped between ears roofed
in three weeks’ bleeding stone knuckles.
Black hair polluted on raw purple flesh
as you can see round cigarette burns, gang ashtrays.
Je suis né le 13 février 2006 à Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.
I was born on 13 February 2006 when Ilan the Jew died.
In day, in night, found near railroad tracks, pain as long
as capture, the capture as deep as the woods
or the wind the future not a fate,
the fallacy, the foreboding, the foreshadowing encapsulates
as Ilan, omens no one in France has listened to yet.
The foretold the found Ilan and his memory shelved
as awkward truth that pocked status quo like snow lightning,
as the metronome of time ticks and roams to a woman
who is me who holds onto his memory. I am Y’Israel—
I am a fierce swan strumming the earth for any reckoning or breath.
In January 2006 a gang of Moslems kidnapped and tortured Ilan Halimi. He died on the way to the hospital on February 13, 2006, after being held for three weeks, after being saved by a woman passing by, after he freed himself. Burned over 80% of his body, taped over his whole body and bruised over his whole body.
Nanette Rayman is author of Shana Linda: Pretty Pretty and Project: Butterflies (Foothills Publishing), and a two-time Pushcart nominee. Included in Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, and first winner of the Glass Woman Prize for prose, she has been published in The Worcester Review, Sugar House Review, Stirring’s Steamiest Six, gargoyle, Berkeley Fiction Review, Editor’s Pick for prose at Green Silk Journal, chaparral, Pedestal, ditch, Wilderness House Literary Review, decomp, Contemporary American Voices, Staircase Quarterly, Umbrella Factory, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, Grasslimb, Pedestal, DMQ Review, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines, sundog lit, and Melusine.
Featured image courtesy of Paul.